Soybean protein-based foamed plywood glue

Scientists at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Midwest Area have developed a soybean protein-based foamed plywood adhesive that is now being used com-mercially by a major plywood manufacturer. The tech-nology transfer was made possible by a Trust Agreement between the Department of Agriculture, ARS, and the United Soybean Board, with the Board serving as an in-termediary that facilitated the cooperative research ef-forts between ARS and industry collaborators. The glue is designed for foam extrusion, a method of ap-plying glue to plywood whereby glue is foamed with air and then extruded into long strands of such diameter as to cover the entire wood surface when pressed. Soybean flour, an inexpensive and readily available protein source, was used to replace spray-dried animal blood, the indus-try’s current protein extender in the glue mix. Soybean flour does not pose a health threat to mill workers, unlike animal blood, which may harbor disease-causing agents.The soy flour-based glue had mixing performance, foam-ing quality, and adhesive strength that equaled those of the plywood industry’s current foamed glue. More im-portantly, the cost of the soy-based glue was cheaper by $0.84/100 kg of glue mix compared to the blood-based glue, which means considerable annual savings in produc-tion costs to the plywood-making industry. Using soy-bean flour as protein extender in foamed plywood glues will consume up to half a million bushels of soybeans per year, which would translate into added value for soybeans and higher income for U.S. soybean growers.
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